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6 Reasons Your Competitors Are On Instagram (And You Should Be, Too)

Instagram is a valuable force and visual think tank in social media land, one that encourages brand innovation, drives killer engagement, and allows your followers and customers to view you in a totally different way. It’s a growth opportunity.

Are your competitors on Instagram? What are they doing with the network? You’ve got to look at the data to really get a good feel for that. But if you’re also wondering why Instagram is so appealing to them, I’m your girl and this blog post’s for you.

Here are six reasons Instagram is attracting some of the biggest and best brands around, and giving them a reason to stay.

1. Instagram’s Growing Audience

Instagram is still on the rise. 50 million users have signed up in the past 6 months.

An expanding user base means more customers and potential customers for you and your competitors to reach on the network.

Of course, Instagram isn’t the only place you can reach these folks — they’re probably active on other networks. But Instagram is a fresh opportunity to engage your users on a different, visually-focused plane, and in a different way.

You might be thinking, “But we’re not a fashion brand. We’re not a luxury automobile company. We don’t make pretty stuff. We make utilitarian stuff. This doesn’t apply to us.” To this I would respond: You’re especially in need of an active Instagram account. Take commercial real estate and investment services company CBRE, for instance. This B2B powerhouse wasn’t an expected presence on Instagram, but it’s used that to its advantage, showcasing its numerous global properties and driving ever-growing engagement.

Larry Koestler, Digital Marketing Manager for CBRE says,

Since it’s not a traditional network, it allows us to present our company and our ethos in a different way than we historically have…Very few of our competitors have explored Instagram, so we had a great opportunity to try new things and break away from the traditional tactics.

Plus, do you love free publicity? Of course you do!

Establishing yourself on Instagram in an intentional, appealing way when it’s not expected or customary in your industry is a fantastic way to harness the media’s attention. The media loves the unexpected. If you deliver the unexpected in a way that rocks, you’ll get some solid, positive news pickup.

2. Instagram’s Engagement

Instagram sports terrific engagement numbers that are just looking better and better. In one of Forrester’s latest studies, blogger Nate Elliott calls Instagram the “King of Engagement” — and with good reason.

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Whether you like it or not — perhaps due to the more intentional selection of brands to follow that Instagram’s format promotes  — Instagram has heavily engaged audiences willing to Like and comment more heavily than on other networks.

Use Instagram’s engagement strength to vet products before you put ’em on the market. Use it as market research for products already on the market. Use it as a rich testing ground for brand voice and content that you’re considering putting into place elsewhere. The opportunities are endless.

3. Instagram’s Active Users

Instagram users spend an average of 3.7 hours on the app every month. That’s a lot of feed-scrolling time for brands to take advantage of, both as paid advertisers and as organically followed accounts.

What could your brand accomplish by garnering even 1 minute more of eye-time from each of your users in one month?

4. Instagram’s Potential

According to new data we shared in May, of the 68 Interbrand 100 companies using Instagram, the top 10 are large household names — and each have over 1 million followers.

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 3.41.04 PMThis is a telltale sign of the growth opportunity on the network, especially for B2C brands. Instagram is a gold mine for B2C brands, one too big to ignore any longer.

5. Instagram’s Legitimacy

Instagram, which recently broke 200 million users, is catching up to Twitter in usage and engagement levels. A recent eMarketer study mentions that “their user counts and demographics are strikingly similar.” 

If you’re active on Twitter, but hesitant about dipping your toes into Instagram or not seeing much pickup if you’re already a ‘Grammer, consider using your Twitter content and/or voice as a jumping-off point for creating Instagram content.

6. Instagram’s Multiple Uses

I’d like to add some qualitative data to my argument for why you should be on Instagram, too.

Marc by Marc Jacob recently skipped model casting calls to run a social media contest, asking Instagram users to take pictures and tag them #CastMeMarc.

The weeklong contest received nearly 70,000 submissions. Nine lucky winners will appear in the Marc by Marc Jacobs fall campaign, launching in August.

ASOS did something similar with #MakeMeACurveModel.

I bring this up not because I’m writing specifically to fashion or even luxury brands, but because it’s a damn good example of how Instagram can both dramatically leverage your in-house creative forces to publicize product and deeply involve users at the same time.

So are you on it?

Which stat above is most impressive to you? How do you measure progress on Instagram? Let me know in the comments below, or Tweet @LLHitz!

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Lucy Hitz

I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.

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